U.S. retail stocks rallied to a three-year high after analysts said that companies whose prospects are most tied to growth will gain.
Target Corp., Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Family Dollar Stores Inc. advanced today after Citigroup Inc. recommended the shares as the economy continues to improve. Staples Inc. jumped to the highest since May after Janney Montgomery Scott LLC advised buying the world’s largest office-supply retailer.
“There are hopeful signs in the employment outlook as non-farm jobs ramped up in recent months, and business confidence is improving,” David Strasser, an analyst at Janney in New York, wrote in a report today.
Retail stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index have climbed 27 percent, the second-biggest gain for any industry after autos and auto parts, since the September 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. U.S. retailers’ 2010 holiday sales surged the most in five years as shoppers snapped up clothing and jewelry, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales by all payment forms.
Deborah L. Weinswig, a retail analyst at Citigroup, said Target, the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, and the other companies will gain as “ tailwinds will outweigh headwinds and translate to modest growth in spending.”
Target rose 1 percent to $60.71, the highest intraday since November 2007. Macy’s increased 1.5 percent to $25.67. J.C. Penney rose 3.3 percent to $33.39, the biggest intraday gain in a month. Family Dollar rose 1.5 percent to $50.45.
Staples was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by Strasser, who said that the retailer may gain market share as the industry consolidates because of buyouts. Staples may rally 19 percent after lagging behind the S&P 500 last year as the economy recovers, he said.
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